Let me start off by saying that I’m no shrink or anything like that. I’m sorta from the old school that believes that there’s nothing like a few beers, some decent sex or a good long walk to cure what’s ailing you (preferably all three). But, these being the times that they are, people have their own way of dealing with things and I guess anger is one of them.
In these modern times, for the most part, anger is viewed as a bad thing. Heaven forbid you should get pissed off at someone or something because chances are you’re going to be accused of being infantile and not being able to hold your temper in check. By no means am I advocating shooting up the local grocery store just because they forgot to say “Have a nice day” or slitting your barber’s throat because they gave you a bad haircut. If you do that sorta shit, you’ve got more issues to work out than your anger problem. No, I’m talking about the type of person who was flipping off the driver next to them because they cut them off and then not letting it go. A little thing like that can ruin a person’s day if they can’t control their emotions.
We’ve probably all met one or two people along the way who seem to stay in a constant state of “pissed off”. I know that for whatever reason, we all have a bad day every now and then but these are the type of folks that glower at the world like someone shit in their Wheaties every morning for breakfast and for the most part, make life miserable for everybody around them. They usually only attract people that are similar in nature to themselves and give credence to the old saying that “misery loves company”. For them, anger management might be a recommended course of action.
For me, the old “take a deep breath and count to ten” usually works but psychologists prying into our psyche have discovered that there are many types of anger and have naturally churned out their findings in a barrage of self help books.
First off, there’s something that they call “passive anger”. I guess that involves getting stoked over something and then keeping your feelings all bottled up inside until they boil over in different forms. Those forms might include some unhealthy secretive behavior towards the offending soul or trying to manipulate them in some way, shape or form. Some displays of passive anger also include avoidance of the problem to begin with and standing back and wishing it would just go away.
Naturally, on the other side of the coin, there’s “aggressive anger”. Usually that reveals itself the form of threats, accusations and in the worst case scenario, actual physical violence. The violence might be directed at another person, property or Fluffy the Cat and is usually meted out swiftly with no consideration of the consequences. Usually it seethes like a volcano just waiting to erupt and when it does, all I can say is “lookout”.
Being the wise men that they are, the good doctors have come up with all types of coping mechanisms to try and control the more violent tendencies displayed by some people. My favorite one is from some shrink by the name of Steven Stosny who advocates dealing with anger by using compassion. He even came up with a little acronym he likes to call “HEALS” that one is supposed to run through their head before they let their emotions get the better of them. If the following statement does anything to solidify his credentials, then it speaks volumes.
He is frequent guest on Oprah Winfrey. (I wonder if the eminent Dr. Stosny ever got his ass kicked?). Are you ready for this?
H - That stands for "healing". I’m not making this up. The good doctor advises that you picture the word “Healing” flash in front of you and on the target of your intended rage.
E - That stands for “explain”. Apparently you’re supposed to ask yourself what your “core hurt” is before you haul off and give Fido a swift kick in the junk because he’s staring back and forth at you and his empty food dish.
A - That stands for “apply self compassion”. Truth be told, I don’t have a freakin’ clue as to what that might mean but my best guess is that it would be for you to take it easy on yourself.
L - That stands for “Love yourself”. You gotta be fuckin’ kidding me. Unless of course that means to forget whatever is bothering you and to go hold yourself a marathon masturbation session to release all of that tension you’re feeling.
S - That stands for “Solve the problem.” I don’t get it, if the problem was solved, why was I pissed in the first place?
Now, my dad wasn’t one to offer up much advice but when I was just a tyke and was in the midst of a tantrum all it would take would be a swift kick to the rear along with the words “Get over it.”
That’s probably the best advice he ever gave me.
See, it took me awhile to figure out that life is too short to wander around being pissed at the world. It’s just not worth it and for what it is worth, the world doesn’t care anyway.
As for me, I’ll take the three suggestions that I made at the beginning of this write up any day of the week to carry me through.